Wherever you are reading this, take a moment to look around. How many items can you find that are based on a standard? How about the light bulbs over your head, electric outlets on the walls, USB ports on your computer, that stapler on your desk and even the bottle opener in your drawer? Standards are everywhere and make our lives so much easier, yet the day to day benefits are so often overlooked.
Thanks to planners, product designers, engineers and industry visionaries, our world is made simpler, easier, more efficient, cheaper and more compatible because of the effective management and proliferation of standards.
Now think about what you design and build. How many components within those products are considered standard parts? How much more efficient could you be if you could better manage how your store, find, and re-use those parts in your designs? How much better would your product be if you could spend more time engineering solutions rather than redrawing those parts?
The advantages we enjoy in our everyday lives thanks to universal standards can also be applied to standard supplier parts used in your job. By recognizing and managing standards in your designs, your processes can also be simpler, easier, more efficient, cheaper and more compatible.
At PARTsolutions, we call that “standardizing standards” and we’ve outlined 5 ways any company, large or small, can benefit from standards parts management:
1. Save Design Time
Engineers can literally save thousands of hours of design time utilizing a parts management system to find, re-use and control standard supplier parts and internal standard parts as well. By centralizing standard parts, engineers access parts (or models) from a single source. Every standard part they need is instantly available at their fingertips. If each engineer at your company could save 1 hour per day, what would that mean for your company?
2. Spend Time on Design That Matters
That time savings can also free up engineers so they can focus on solving the problem, perfecting the product or engineering the solution, rather than wasting time monkeying around with standard parts. Engineers spend way too much time searching for parts and redrawing them. The majority of an engineer’s time should be spent on what we call “value-added design” i.e. design that adds value to the business. Searching and redrawing common parts doesn’t add value.
3. Speed Up Product Development & Time to Market
By eliminating menial engineering tasks, like searching for or redrawing parts, you can speed up product development and manufacturing automation design and get your end-products to market faster.
4. Let your Standards Supplier Do the Updating
By cataloging your standard supplier content in a central location, you create a “single authoritative source” for your engineering teams. Using our PARTsolutions parts management system, commercial parts suppliers provide their catalog content to engineers. The suppliers maintain and update all that data, so engineers don’t have to waste their time doing it. Also, orders are accurate because product data is always current. So, you won’t order an obsolete part, for example.
5. Standardization Gives You Purchasing Power
Best-in-class companies are taking parts management to the next level. They are creating visibility between engineering and purchasing departments to achieve unprecedented purchasing power. By seeing what parts are being designed into products and what vendor parts are being specified across the company, purchasers can analyze this data to identify opportunities for a leveraged buy from a supplier. Not only can the company get a better deal on parts on a volume purchaser, the order accuracy goes up substantially because the part data is accessed from a singular source. Essentially purchasing and engineering are drawing their data from the same place, so it’s super accurate. It’s a win/win/win – for the engineer, purchaser and the company.
The engineering world needs more visionaries who understand the value of embracing standardization and can promote it within their companies. Standards help everybody.
Good luck to you and your efforts to help standardize standards!